After much deliberation, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) finally put out the names of the 20 candidates who will be contesting in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in April. UDF, the major opposition front in Kerala assembly, is an alliance of six parties led by the Congress.
The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and the Kerala Congress (M) are also part of the UDF. Kerala Congress Jacob, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and All India Forward Bloc are the other constituents. The UDF emerged victorious in 12 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014, with Congress bagging 8 seats, the IUML 2, and Kerala Congress (M) and RSP one each.
Out of the total 20 constituencies in Kerala, Congress will be contesting from 16 constituencies, IUML will be contesting from 2 constituencies, Kerala Congress (M) and RSP will be contesting from one constituency each.
Full list of candidates:
Alappuzha: Shanimol Usman (INC)
Shanimol Usman, who is one among the two female candidates that the UDF has decided to field for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,is also the first woman leader from Kerala to become the secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Alathur: Ramya Haridas (INC)
Ramya Haridas is the other woman candidate, who the UDF has decided to field for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Ramya, who is the panchayat president of the Kunnamangalam block in Kozhikode is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time.
Attingal: Adoor Prakash (INC)
A sitting MLA of Konni in Pathanamthitta, Adoor Prakash was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly consecutively from the Konni constituency in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
Chalakudy: Benny Behanan (INC):
Senior Congress leader, Benny Behanan is also the current convenor of the UDF. Benny, who was the former state president of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), which is the student’s union of the Congress, was also a two time MLA.
Ernakulam: Hibi Eden (INC)
A sitting MLA from the Ernakulam Assembly constituency, Hibi Eden was first elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly from the same constituency in 2011. Hibi, who is considered as one of the “young turks” of the Congress was also the former president of the National Students Union (NSU).
Idukki: Dean Kuriakose (INC)
Presently the state president of the Youth Congress, Dean Kuriakose is known for having led several agitations across the state for various youth right related issues. In 2014, he had unsuccessfully contested from the Idukki constituency for the Lok Sabha elections.
Kannur: K Sudhakaran (INC)
Sudhakaran, who was a former MP is also one of the working president of the Congress party in Kerala. Former Forest Minister of the state, Sudhakaran is also known to be the party’s strong man in Kannur.
Kasargod: Rajmohan Unnithan (INC)
Former spokesman of the Congress party in Kerala, Rajmohan Unnithan has previously contested the Assembly elections from the constituencies of Kundara and Thalassery, but lost these elections.
Kollam: NK Premachandran (RSP)
A sitting MP from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency, Premachandran was also the former minister of Water Resources in the Government of Kerala.
Kottayam: Thomas Chazikadan (Kerala Congress-M)
Former MLA of the Ettumanoor constituency in Kottayam district, Thomas Chazikadan is also a Chartered Accountant.
Kozhikode: MK Raghavan (INC)
A two time MP from the Kozhikode constituency, MK Raghavan was also the former general secretary of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
Malappuram: PK Kunhalikutty (IUML)
A significant player in Kerala politics, PK Kunhalikutty was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1982 from his constituency in Malappuram. But in 2017, he had resigned as an MLA to represent the Lok Sabha constituency.
Mavelikara: Kodikunnil Suresh (INC)
Kodikunnil Suresh, who was a former Union Minister of State for Labour, is also a six time MP. Suresh is also the working president of the KPCC.
Palakkad: VK Sreekandan (INC)
The president of the District Congress Committee (DCC) in Palakkad, VK Sreekandan has previously contested Assembly elections from Ottapalam. He was also a former office bearer of the KSU.
Pathanamthitta: Anto Antony (INC)
A two-term MP from the Pathanamthitta constituency, Anto Antony is also a practising lawyer. A former president of the Kottayam DCC, he was also the former General Secretary of the KSU.
Ponnani: ET Mohammed Basheer (IUML)
ET Mohammed Basheer, during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, won from his constituency in Ponnani by a margin of 25,410 votes. Basheer was also the State Party Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League and someone who supported the long standing coalition with the Indian National Congress (INC).
Thiruvananthapuram: Shashi Tharoor (INC)
Tharoor is a sitting MP from Thiruvananthapuram and he has represented and won from the same constituency twice. A former Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Tharoor has also authored several books. He was an Under-Secretary General at the United Nations.
Thrissur: TN Prathapan (INC)
A three time MLA, TN Prathapan is also the current president of the Thrissur DCC. He was also a former state president of the KSU.
Vadakara: K Muraleedharan (INC)
K Muraleedharan is the sitting MLA from the Vattiyoorkav constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. Muraleedharan is the son of late Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister K Karunakaran. He is also former President of the KPCC, former minister and three-time MP from Kozhikode (1989, 1991 and 1999).